Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Word of Encouragement For Late Ballet Starters


I get many queries from young dancers as to what are their chances for becoming professional. This is a general answer to dancers whom I cannot see -

I can't see you dance and give an opinion as to whether you could make the professional grade or not, but I will try to help you see it for yourself.

Update: I remembered this movie (not new) but relevant. It is described as:

"Divertissement is the story of five amateur dancers who began the study of classical ballet later in life and how their lives were transformed through dance. Each of these women are non-professional dancers with lives, careers and families outside the studio, yet each is drawn by the desire to fulfill something long set aside: the dream of dance. Coming from all walks of life, they confront obstacles of ageism, physical and self-esteem issues and emotional challenges as they embark on their journey. How the persevere and how their lives change is as touching as it is empowering."

Here are some professionally trained 14-17 yr old dance students, who will be able to get a job in a world class ballet company:

This play list includes other schools as well. Compare the ability and technique to the students at your school/company and you will see how your abilities match.

Bear in mind that these students have had 6-10 classes a week with world class teachers since they were 9-10 yrs old - so don't get self-critical! (I know, dancers specialize in that!).

While it may not be possible for you to train well enough to get into the top world ballet companies, perhaps you would qualify for a smaller/regional company. Look at as many as you can on line.

Consider a ballet summer intensive next year at a major school, to see if you can work day after day in a professional training schedule.

Get a dance manual like The Perfect Pointe Book (you can CLICK HERE to get your copy) so you can improve faster. It focuses on the vital basic technical details of classical ballet with lots and lots of foot exercises and strength tests.

Here is where you can learn to get really flexible as an adult ballet beginner.

Those three references above can keep you busy for a year! Professional dancers do those exercises ongoing, at whatever level they need.

Look into BFA programs where you will train and perform through your college years, and be able to go on to dance history, criticism or teaching when you can no longer perform.  

 Pointe magazine publishes a list of colleges that offer dance programs.

Or, you could enter a B.Sc. program in dance that will proceed to dance medicine/physical therapy as a specialty for after you stop dancing. In the meantime, you will be dancing!

If you cannot have the career that a dancer with 8-10 years of intense training can have, there is much to do in the world of ballet!

Since you are so drawn to ballet, you must believe that you have a special gift to offer the dance world, in one way or another.

Keep your personal vision alert and wide, and your adventures in dance may be amazing!

D. Buxton is a writing partner with Vone Deporter, of The Sedona Series, about a surfer girl in pointe shoes.

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  1. FILLIN MY DREAM TO LEARN SOME BALLET MOVES THAT APPLY TO MIDDLE EASTERN "Le Danse de Ventre". hope that is correct.@55yo, exercise&I r old pals, I refuse to allow a number to squish this drive 4 learning.i am doin well, may take adult ballet soon. My instructor is ballet /egyptian cabaret veteran, teaching in cairo,for ex: feel blessed to have body, although aging, can dance. your comments, writing hekp me/ thanks for sharing to us dancers, who wanna be our best,gypsy